Using a handheld stylus and tablet set combined with an existing augmented reality headset, this invention allows users to sketch in three dimensions and see the results of their work unfold in realtime.
Created by a group of students from the Royal College of Art, the interface is made to be as intuitive as a sketchpad or 2D drawing tablet – anyone should be able to pick it up and simply start doodling. It can be connected to various visualization devices, including the virtual reality simulator Oculcus Rift.
Per Dezeen, “As the user draws above the clear acrylic sketchpad, radio signals are used to track the movements of the stylus from coordinates on the pad. These are sent to an Arduino board – an open source prototyping device containing a micro controller – which is contained in a black panel that forms one edge of the pad.”
A combination of gestures and buttons allows users to tilt their drawings to work on them from various angles and shift the planes being worked on as well. Critically, though, the basic tool set is familiar in its function and thus user-friendly – a pad and pen, essentially, with expanded functionality.
A great deal of physical modeling and prototyping went into the design of the device including physical stands that allowed Gravity’s creators to simulate the kinds of conditions they sought to replicate in digital space. In turn, the three-dimensional drawings created via the device can be input into 3D printers, completing the circuit.